MFW Adventures: 1492—go with the flow.

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Christopher Columbus!

I always love the way June Allyson, as Jo March in Little Women, lets that expression fly.

I ended up saying it all week…

i.e. “Christopher Columbus! There’s an armadillo in our yard!”
IMG_4747I have lived in Florida for the majority of my life and never once met an armadillo in the wild. To be fair, this armadillo has presumably lived its entire life in Florida and never encountered me once. We kept our distance out of respect for Mr. Armadillo’s wild nature and all around creepiness. Hooray, nature walk! Always exciting when something other than birds, bugs and/or types of bark, happens.

And that is not the only strange thing that happened around here….

IMG_4823My boys asked to do multiple crafts.

Multiple.

Crafts.

IMG_4825They made a pirate ship (Not what Columbus sailed on but I’ll take it), three maps, bead necklaces to trade for Indian gold and a flaaarrllaarggllaar made out of popsicle sticks. Ok, even after it was explained to me three times by my exasperated six year old, I’m still not quite sure. I believe it was some sort of navigation tool. I said “ooooo” and “aaahhh” whenever he paused for approval during his explanation. A flarrrrllaarggllaaar you guys! All on his own!

Ah, Columbus. He really wanted that trade route.

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He wanted the route and I really wanted the boys to hit certain goals this week. Halfway through I realized that they were going in a completely different direction than I.

Just like Columbus, I had hit an unexpected barrier.  Pesky ol’ South America kept Columbus from finding Asia (and months of madness, possible mutiny, starvation and eventual death in the middle of the Pacific). I decided to respect the road blocks my kids were putting up, lest I meet with disaster, and follow their lead. Last week, they were up for long discussions about Leif Ericsson. This week, they wanted hands on experiences and in-depth play about Columbus. In other words: “stop talking Mom and play with us!”

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We enjoyed the MFW materials in this unit–especially American Pioneers and Patriots. This became one of our favorite read alouds during our Literary Lunch hour. When the rains came, we hid in the boys bunks. Catalina, Pedro and Martin, riding out the storm. (We did not wedge any knives into the door)

Our Beautiful Feet book study continues to delight the boys. While I enjoyed “Leif the Lucky” more,  it was great to add in “Columbus” for a few great comparison discussions.  The boys have learned so much about diligence and self-control in these last two weeks of BF study. We press on, eager for more great living-book learning!
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The younger set of siblings had a great time tagging along this week. Every time the elder boys asked to draw maps or star charts, the younger boys would jump in on the fun. Lots of paint everywhere. Truly, a fantastic mess. They were so happy!

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The boys are still loving their manipulative maps from Interactive 3D Maps: American History. Its probably our favorite resource this year!

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We also enjoyed watching the Drive Thru History episode about Columbus. We asked for the series last Christmas and its been great fun so far–we highly recommend it!

After days of reading and mapmaking, the boys were itching for some adventure. When an afternoon rainstorm rolled in on Friday, my eldest stood at the window and watched the powerful winds shake the trees in our orchard.

“Can you imagine this kind of fury in the open unknown sea?” he asked.

“It must be terrifying,” I said.

“Mom, is it too late in the world to have an explorer’s heart?” he wondered.

“Never.” I assured him.

“Thats good. I am a kind of boy thats made up of courage and exploration but with safety too because, well, you’re my Mom and I love you,” he grinned at me.

I’m glad I went with the flow. Forcing them to do everything on my agenda, well, they may as well matriculate into our local school system for all the good it will do them as independent, creative learners.

I love watching them develop a love of learning.

I love that studying about Columbus and Viking Explorers has left my boys with a heart for exploring and a yearning for discovery, instead of an ache from sitting down all day staring at a textbook.

I read a passage this week about the unfurling of a mighty white sail from its massive yardarm. The boys were listening attentively, faces smiling and eyes alight with wonder. I’ve spent the last years hoisting their sails onto yardarms, tacking everything down and tying everything in place. Now the sails are beginning to unfurl, the wind may not have caught yet, but the sails are starting to stretch out and its a breathtaking experience.

Book List for Columbus (I found nearly all of them at the library)
1. Explorers Who Got Lost by Diane Sansevere Dreher
2. The World of Columbus & Sons by Genevieve Foster (this is an upper level BF book. We just looked through it)
3.  Who Was Christopher Columbus by Bonnie Bader
4. Christopher Columbus by Stephen Krensky
5. Animals Christopher Columbus Saw by Sandra Markle
6. Pedro’s Journal by Peter Koeppen
7. Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross
8. Great Ships by Patrick O’Brien
9. Columbus by Ingri & Edgar d’Aulaire
10. Land Ho! Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration by Nancy Winslow Parker (This was a great read for any kiddos wanting MORE explorers!)

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